Lionel Shiver, the author of the award-winning school massacre-based novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, has been confirmed as the Golding Speaker at this year’s Marlborough LitFest.
Shiver – who was born Margaret Ann Shriver but adopted the traditionally male moniker Lionel at the age of 15 – follows in the footsteps of Louis de Bernieres, Fay Weldon, and Harold Jacobson.
We Need to Talk About Kevin was the American author’s seventh novel. It concerns a fictional school massacre, and is written from the first person perspective of the killer’s mother.
It documents her attempt to come to terms with her son Kevin and the murders he committed.
The novel won Shiver the Orange Prize in 2005, and in 2011 the novel was adapted into a film starring Tilda Swinton.
Her latest novel, The Mandibles, is set in 2029 and depicts a family forced to survive the crippling ramifications of an economic earthquake, besides which 2008 was only a minor tremor.
The LitFest hosts an annual Golding Speaker to highlight Marlborough’s long connection with the Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winner, William Golding, at an event sponsored by the William Golding estate.
Festival chairman Jan Williamson said: “It’s a terrific coup to have an author of the stature and reputation of Lionel Shriver to open this year’s LitFest. As a journalist and novelist, she has a direct, clear-eyed view of the world and isn’t afraid to tackle controversial topics.”